The European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH) has filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) regarding the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) case.

The association demanded the European court consider the application regarding the first and second verdicts of arrest in the ÇHD case as an "impact case" and immediately examine it, citing the reason that the ÇHD case sets an example of unlawful practices against lawyers, bar associations and lawyers' groups in Turkey and of judicial harassment.

There is serious unlawfulness in the ÇHD case and ÇHD lawyers are arrested because of political pressures and facing sentences, it noted.

The next hearing of the ÇHD case will take place on January 5-6-7 at the İstanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court in the Silivri Prison Complex.

"Deterrent effect"

The ELDH also stated that Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights had also pointed out this situation in their reports.

Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu had violated the presumption of innocence by calling the ÇHD lawyers "terrorists" without a final court verdict, the association further noted.

"The arrest of the ÇHD lawyers affects not only them but also their clients' right to defense. This case intends to create a deterrent effect on other lawyers who work in the field of human rights as well," the ELDH stated.

Application by Adana Bar

The Adana Bar Association also filed an application with the ECtHR for the ÇHD case to be considered as an impact case.

The ÇHD lawyers' application to the European court "fulfills all the conditions that require priority examination by the ECtHR," it stated.

"As organizations being on the receiving end of the attacks on bar associations, legal institutions and lawyers in Turkey and closely following the increasing pressure on lawyers and the legal profession, we request that the applications of the applicants be examined as a priority and that the independence of the legal profession and the judiciary is determined to be at risk."

What happened?

After the appeals against their arrest were rejected by local courts and the Constitutional Court, the ÇHD lawyers filed an application with the ECtHR on April 29, 2021.

They stated that their arrest violated articles 5, 10, 11 and 18.

The application is still awaiting response.